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Natural Consequences

In accordance with the New Zealand Ministry of Education regulations, students must not leave an after-school detention until the supervising teacher excuses them. Failure to comply will result in additional detentions.

Name: Nicky Harris

Year: 10

Supervising Teacher: Mr Fraser

Please copy this detention worksheet exactly. You will be penalised if you do not complete at least 50% of the sheet.

I have been given this detention because I have infringed the school rules in some way. Disobeying the school rules reflects poorly on my parents, my teachers, and me.

I don’t care who it reflects on, I reckon things would have been a lot worse if I didn’t disobey the school rules.

It does not matter whether I have been given this detention because of tardiness, rudeness, failing to comply with the school uniform code or for another reason … In case you are wondering Mr Fraser, I got my detention for wagging yesterday…the result is the same: I waste my time, my teachers time … as if! My teachers were probably happy I wasn’t there anyway. Miss Hardwell says I am a ‘constant disruption’ … and the time of those around me who are trying to learn. I guess that means I was wasting TJ’s time. But if you ask him, he’d say he was happy I was there.

Thursday is usually the perfect day to wag school because:

Thursday starts with a double period of Maths.

Thursday is ‘town day’ for TJ’s dad, (when he goes to get stuff from Farmlands and buys a lotto ticket and drives over to Pahiatua to drop some home kill off to TJ’s Nana) so there’s no one around the farm to bug us. We can just hang out. TJ’s dad let him convert the woodshed into a little sleep-out. He put up insulation and posters and his old Marist rugby jersey. It’s pretty cool. TJ is good at that kind of stuff.

Thursday is P.E., which is an easy class to get away with not going to because I’m good at P.E. and I know I’m good at it because Mrs P told me so.

* * *

Mrs Paora – don’t butcher the name of my ancestors just call me Mrs P – is the netball coach for the Senior A’s. It was Mrs P who said “Say what you will about nutrition – the fact is, bodies are built differently. Look at cows and horses – they’ve both got four legs, big teeth and they both eat grass all day long, but one of them can run like the clappers and the other is built like a brick shit house. There’s a reason the cars are called Mustangs, not Friesians.”

The way Mrs P puts things makes sense – the idea that some things are out of our control, that nature’s the real boss, and that I’m more of a cow than a horse. Me and TJ both eat pretty much the same shit but he’s fast and I’m strong. Sometimes when we make out in the converted shed, I can feel my body sort of smothering TJ, like a weighted blanket. He says he likes it, that feeling of safe pressure.

* * *

TJ says he wished it wasn’t a Thursday because then his dad would’ve been home and then he could have killed Mitzi. But it was a Thursday, so we didn’t have a choice.

Our School Rules have been established to uphold high expectations for student success both in academic work and in character development.

Just for the record I’m glad that I wagged school – just for the record (seeing as you teachers don’t even read these things anyway, because you don’t have time because you’re always going on and on about paperwork and extracurricular activities and Board of Trustee meetings and all that crap taking time away from actual teaching). But just for the record: TJ killed Mitzi yesterday. He had to. Don’t think he’s an asshole or anything like that Mr Fraser, coz he’s not. He loved that dog, had her for ages.

* * *

TJ was fast. As soon as he saw the way the sheep were huddled and the way Mitzi was biting, he flew to the safe and back. He tried to call Mitzi off, but she was in a frenzy. She came when TJ whistled though; she’s always been a good dog like that. They were both shaking for ages. We gave her a good long pat and I looked her in the eyes for ages so she wouldn’t be scared. Then Bang. One shot. TJ’s a good shot, I’ve seen him with rabbits; he can hit even the little speedy ones. It was too close to worry about missing though.

TJ reckons his cousins’ dog killed about 20 sheep in one go! He didn’t eat them all or anything, it doesn’t work like that. The dog just started chasing and biting one of them and every time it got up to run away the dog would attack it again, like it was a game. Sheep hate barking, they’re scaredy-cats really. And they’re stupid. They just follow each other around so when one of the sheep ran into a corner of the paddock all the rest followed and piled up on top of each other trying to get further away from the dog until heaps of them suffocated to death. That’s why we had to do it right away, no matter how much TJ loved Mitzi – it’s just no use having a dog like that on a farm.

I dragged the dead sheep to the wool shed and TJ carried Mitzi to the house. TJ cried as he took her – I could see his shoulders rattling. Afterwards I gave him a good heavy blanket.

* * *

We recognise that enduring excellence is attained only through persistence and discipline. Naturally, it is a matter of consequence that when a rule is broken, we must understand the error of our path and work to rectify it.

I know that Mrs Hardwell thinks I’m a waste of space and that the school just lets me stick around because they need me for the Senior A’s, I know that. I’m not an idiot. And Mrs Hardwell, if you’re reading this because Mr Fraser has passed it around the staff room for a good laugh then Hi Mrs Hardwell! You’re a townie c*nt. You’re the kind of person whose dog would attack a sheep and then you’d say “oh no, not Otis, he’d never do that”. People like you don’t know how the real world works. You’ve never seen a dog get the killing fever; you’ve probably never been to the pub on a rugby weekend either. And anyway, I’ve already got detention all next week now, so who cares if I get another one? TJ’s dad is a bit glad we wagged school I think because TJ saved a lot of money yesterday. If we hadn’t been there, it could have been a total bloodbath.

I have been given this detention because I have infringed the school rules in some way. Disobeying the school rules reflects poorly on my parents, my teachers, and me. I aim to improve my behaviour and uphold the school rules so that I may take pride in myself and in my future.

Mrs P says that human children are one of the only animals in the world that are born so useless. Baby cows are literally running around on day one, they don’t need to be carried around for the first 18 years of their lives.

You may not leave the Detention room until 4.15pm. If you finish this sheet early, please remain quietly seated.

Most cows don’t make it past 3 anyway.


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Roger Parker
Roger Parker
Roger Parker is the Times-Age news director. In the Venn-diagram of his two great loves, news and sport, sports news is the sweet spot.

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